Sunday, June 7, 2020

Black Feminist Discourse.. And Its Dilemmas..

October 27, 2016 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

Like Love Haha Wow Sad Angry

( At the outset, let’s first recognize that I, the writer, have no intention of engaging in the sort of back and forth mudslinging that is all too common in today’s opinion media landscape. Further, let’s be clear that I not only consider free speech the cornerstone of any true democracy, but that such a freedom, if it is that, must by definition of the term “free”, include the license to offend. If one disagrees or even dislikes the said perceived “verbal offense” it would be imperative that the offended be able not only to deconstruct such an argument, but be able to do so based upon fact and not ad hominem attacks or typecasting of the other. As with all critical thinking, analysis, dialogue, and writing the point essentially, is to determine what are those parts of discourse worthy of critique and praise respectfully, based not on emotions alone, but logic and facts. This piece of writing is such an attempt to do so.

In a recent article entitled “All Films Matter: The Birth of a Nation and the Vilification of Black Feminism” brought to us (the public) by, contributing writer Michael Harriot harps on how Black men (particularly) h ave “blamed” BOAN’s failure at the box office on Black women, more specifically Black feminism. This according to Harriot is largely due to the schism that currently exist between Black women and men regarding the films producer and director Nate Parker. Not long before the release of the film Parker, 36, found himself in the middle of a rape allegation scandal from his 2015-black-feminist-photopast.

As it has been frequently reported for some time now, the alleged incident occurred on the morning of August 21, 1999 when Parker was a 19 year old student at Penn State University, there on a wrestling scholarship. According to the accuser Parker and his friend (and BOAN co-writer) Jean Celestin had non-consensual sex with her while she unconscious after a night of drinking. According to the accuser’s own statement, she met with Parker two days prior to the incident in which occurred a sexual encounter at between the two at her apartment, with the accuser admitting that she engaged in oral sex with Parker. On the following day August 20, 1999 the two met for a “date” at a bar in which Parker didn’t show up until midnight. In the time in between the accuser’s arrival and Parker’s arrival she by her own admission had been accepting drinks from a 40 year unidentified male. Citing to Parker that she was “pretty drunk”, she insisted on going to a friend’s apartment so that she could get sleep. Upon reaching the apartment she was offered more drinks, according to the accuser it was rum, specifically. As she described the scene;

“ I mean I knew I was intoxicated. Just blurry vision. I don’t remember conversation. I don’t remember who was in the room. I don’t remember how many people were in the room. I just knew I was there.”

There she told Parker that she was “too drunk” and insisted then on going back to his apartment for fear that she would get in trouble for being drunk on campus. When they arrived, the accuser testified to having seen two other people sitting on a bed watching TV. She was given a shirt by them and went to sleep. According to her testimony, when she opened her eyes, she found Nate Parker having intercourse with her.

“ It was just a split second. And then awake again and another gentleman with his penis in my mouth and somebody on top of me and then, again, somebody just on top of me other than Nate and as far as that, that’s all I remember.”

According to the accuser, when she awoke she wasn’t able to find either Parker nor the alleged co-conspirator(s), at which point she left, departing for her dorm.

“I’m completely naked and I’m like, oh, shit, I’ve just been raped and I get up to go home and then the next thing I know is I’m in the bathroom and there is red everywhere and I’m having cold water splashed on my face.”

For the sake of brevity, respect for the accuser (who is now deceased, sadly having taken her own life back in 2012 at the age of 30), and not relitigating the whole entire case, just know that on October 5, 2001 Nate Parker was acquitted of all charges due to lack of sufficient evidence. His friend Jean Celestin however, was charged with sexual assault (a lesser charge than rape) and sentenced to six to twelve months in prison. However soon after, Celestin had his conviction overturned due to inefficient counsel.

Needless to say that because of the very serious and sensitive nature of sexual assault and rape culture in the U.S., this incident has seen barbs thrown by and at opposing sides as to the nature and timing of this case. On one hand some consider the timing rather odd given Parker’s previous string of prominent roles in films such as ‘The Great Debaters’, ‘Red Tails’, ‘Secret Life of Bees’, and ‘Beyond The Lights’, just to name a few.

Those on this side of the issue inquire how someone who was already in the public eye was able to have this charge firmly placed behind him, only up until the time he decided not only to create an independent film, but one on Black history’s most revered and revolutionary figures. On the other hand there are those who find the allegations of Parker’s past actions so abhorrent as to not only be publicly critical of him, but unsupportive of his film.

Considering the history of this nation and its opposition to Black male assertion of any sort, expressed in both the extreme and violently overt and the deviously covert, those in former group stand on justified suspicion. Nevertheless, those of the latter group who are protesting Parker’s film on the ground of women’s rights, have a democratic right to do so.

Further, as the father of a daughter myself and one who has spent the entirety of his life around Black women, I find nothing more disgusting than the violation of any woman, let their be no mistakes about that. As for what side I’m on (for I’m sure that in such a polarized society as the U.S., with its endless democratic or republican narrative, Black vs white, gay vs straight, etc) it’s the reader’s next logical question, to that I say I am on the side of what’s known.

What’s known is that a rather vague but nonetheless disappointing incident happened in the life of Nate Parker back in 1999. It involved the sort of detestable charge that is not to be taken lightly. He was acquitted of the charge in 2001, and his friend Celestin while convicted of a lesser crime, eventually had it overturned.

The alleged victim, sadly, has taken her life and is no longer here to speak for herself. All this in a country that has been notorious for locking up and even killing Black men for a whole lot less, in a country still has innocent Black men behind bars for decades if not life for similar convictions with n o evidence, and in a country that has seen innocent men on lethal injection tables, in a country where the history of the perceived taboo of Black male white female relations has been at the center of lynchings and other extralegal horrors.

Finish story here;

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!